Experts in local government can offer opinions in legal cases in relation to development applications, as well as, whether standard procedures and guidelines were adhered to in conduct of certain local government activities. Local government is the third tier of government in Australia and are administered by the states and territories. There are almost 600 local government areas throughout the country, dominated by councils, shires, cities, municipalities, and towns. Some city areas can be as small as 1.5 kilometres squared, whereas some regional areas can be larger than European countries.
Councils govern their local areas, collecting rates and fees and being responsible for local roads, waste collection, disposal and recycling as well as managing community
and civic infrastructure. The councils are also responsible for the approval of building development applications within their areas.
Over the 1970s and 80s, there was a move to merger councils throughout the country in order to improve efficiency. Local government powers are determined by state governments, and states have primary responsibility for funding and exclusive responsibility for supervision of local councils.
Local government is mentioned in the annotated Australian Constitution (but not the initial Constitution of 1900) as a department of state government, and they are mentioned in the constitutions of each of the six states. Federal governments can interact with local government via the provision of federal grants to help fund local government managed projects such as highways.
Corruption has been a major issue with local councils over the last few decades and there has been a concerted nationwide effort to improve transparency, integrity, independence, and accountability to elections, tenders, zoning decisions, and development application processes.
Experts in local government can be of great help to the legal process. Experts in local government can offer a wide range of knowledge based upon their prior education, they would be well adept in identifying and commenting on discretionary powers used in making certain decisions. The specific specialisation and background needed in your local government expert will be determined by the matter which requires examination.
At the bottom of this profile are brief details of a number of the experts that Expert Experts represents. Call our office to discuss your requirements and to obtain a recommendation that suits your needs and budget.
Expertise in Action
Experts in local government can offer opinions in legal cases related to development applications where there is a dispute between commercial or residential developers and councils. Likewise, disputes between local ratepayers and councils will often require an expert witness familiar with the relevant local government legislation. Experts can also give opinions in workers compensation, environmental law, and public liability cases involving local government councils.
For some fields of expertise we have some sample sections of de-identified reports. Please contact our office if you are interested in a sample.
The overall cost of expert opinion depends on the services required. Some of the key factors that affect the cost of advice include:
- The need for a view or inspection of a location
- The quantity of documentary material to be reviewed
- Whether there are reports of other experts to be reviewed and commented on in detail
- Whether there is a need for conferences with the expert either in person or by telephone/Skype